Jonathan Jansen

Human relations at heart of development

„The human problem at the heart of development: from Ferguson and France to the Free State” – prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector of the Free State University in South Africa will speak on the role of education and human relations in development by presenting examples of Ferguson (US), Paris (Charlie Hebdo) and Free State. He will demonstrate how creating the conditions for human togetherness enables the achievement of broader developmental goals. Watch live on 24th February at 8 pm CET / 7 pm GMT at https://kapuscinskilectures.eu/.

Tuesday 24.02.2015

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There remains a unshakeable assumption in the international policy community that development in one country can be switched on and off from central controls elsewhere in the global system. You see this logic with everything from Education for All to the MDGs. Whether it is cross-national tests of achievement or even the global rankings of universities, the kind of forces that drive change in schools and universities are largely enabled or inhibited by humans who inhabit these institutions.

The kinds of issues, moreover, that wreak havoc on societies and their systems of education are largely ignored in international policy scripts that privilege academic achievement in science, mathematics and literacy. This technicist and instrumentalist view of education has exposed developmental agendas to even greater threats, the unravelling of human relations that are so crucial to both people and performance across the world.

Prof. Jansen made these arguments real by presenting his research on race, intimacy and leadership at the University of the Free State in South Africa — and how many students made the transition from tolerance to embrace in segregated communities. According to prof. Jansen „Any analysis that begins and ends with condemnation, rather than pressing for an understanding of the underlying dilemmas of inequality, poverty, segregation and violence cannot begin to resolve the human challenges in specific territories without which development remains an elusive project.”

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Jonathan Jansen is Vice Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State and President of the South African Institute of Race Relations. He is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and a Fellow of the Academy of Science of the Developing World. His book Knowledge in the Blood: Confronting Race and the Apartheid Past (Stanford 2009) was listed as one of the best books of that year by the American Libraries Association. His new book, Schools that Work, uses video-documentaries to capture what happens inside disadvantaged schools which nevertheless produce the best results in physical science and mathematics in South Africa. He also writes popular books and is a columnist for The Times and Die Burger.
Jonathan Jansen

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